Handbook on Political Trust
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Handbook on Political Trust

Edited by Sonja Zmerli and Tom W.G. van der Meer

Political trust – in government, parliament, or political parties – has taken centre stage in political science for more than half a century, reflecting ongoing concerns with the legitimacy and functioning of representative democracy. To provide scholars, students and policy makers with a tool to navigate through the complexity of causes and consequences of political trust, this Handbook offers an excellent overview of the conceptual, theoretical, methodological and empirical state of the art, complemented by accounts of regional particularities, and authored by international experts in this field.
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Chapter 24: Political trust in Latin America

Matías Bargsted, Nicolás M. Somma and Juan Carlos Castillo


This chapter explores how political trust has evolved among Latin American countries between 1996 and 2011. We probe how much political trust there is in Latin America, whether it has increased or decreased across time, and try to understand variations looking at both individual and contextual (i.e., country-level) factors. Latin America is an interesting setting for studying political trust for three reasons. First, Latin America has lower levels of political trust than other regions of the world (Catterberg and Moreno, 2006; Mainwaring, 2006; Segovia, 2008). For instance, Segovia (2008) shows that average levels of trust in parliament and the civil service in Latin America are significantly and substantially lower than in industrialized European countries. Latin America thus provides regional variation in a topic that has been most intensely studied within the more industrialized countries.

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